Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Back Away From The Computer

Teen Killed Dad For Banning MySpace:

A teenager who confessed to killing his father last month told police he hated his dad for taking away his Internet access, according to a police report released Wednesday.Hughstan Schlicker, 15, called 911 on Feb. 6 and told the dispatcher he had just shot his father in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun."I hate my dad, couldn't take it anymore," he said, according to the report.

Schlicker said he often spent entire days on MySpace and couldn't cope when his father cut off his access to the site."It felt like I was stabbed with a knife and it went straight through and … no matter how hard I pulled, I couldn't pull out the knife," Schlicker said, according to an interview transcript in the police report.
I don't normally post on true-crime stories (if I did, I'd be posting non-stop, 24 hours a day). But this story just cried out for comment because of what seems like a growing trend related to social networking sites and criminal activity amongst juveniles.

An increase in suicide due to social network "bullying" seems to be a chartable phenomenon, and stories like this, where teens lash out at parents who attempt to control their internet access, also seem to be cropping up.

No one wishes to sound the Luddite alarm, but if we go back to Durkheim 101 and Anomie, we find a plausible explanation. Teenagers with very little social regulation or integration (in most of these stories, the teens seem to be engaging in social networking around the clock) are more prone to a host of pathologies, including suicide and homicide.

And perhaps Sutherland was right when he discounted the role of the media as an agent of socialization in Differential Association. Perhaps we need real-time, face-to-face interaction with others, and social networking on the web is a poor, inadequate substitute.

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